Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct reprimanded a judge for, in 1 custody hearing, telling the parents, “I don’t know what the hell you two are thinking, but get it together. All of you,” and “I don’t give a crap about any of you,” and, in an unrelated severance hearing, telling the parties, “I honestly don’t give a crap about either one of these people.”  Hancock, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 12, 2016).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct reprimanded a judge for instantaneously denying a litigant’s oral motion to dismiss a photo radar ticket; cutting him off when he said the judge did not even know what the motion was about; saying if he continued, he would be found in contempt of court; throughout the remainder of the hearing, telling the litigant to “shut up,” “knock it off,” and that he could either do what the judge asked or eat green soup at the jail that evening; and speaking in an elevated tone and belittling fashion. Forshey, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 12, 2016).
  • On application of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court found that a former magistrate violated the code of judicial conduct by including advertising about performing marriage ceremonies on his private law practice web-site, including photos of himself in his judicial robes on his private law practice web-site, and not disclosing in his advertising that he would perform weddings for no charge during his regular office hours at the courthouse, although it did not impose any sanction. In the Matter of Martinek, Opinion (Iowa Supreme Court June 17, 2016).
  • Based on the findings of fact and recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, which the judge did not contest, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 15 days for investigating a probationer’s background through ex parte communications, adjudicating the matter without the prosecuting agency, and making observations from the bench based on his acquaintance with the probationer through their involvement in the same church. In re Best (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on stipulations of material facts and conclusions of law, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a non-lawyer justice of the peace for, in a collection case, rendering a judgment without giving the debtors a meaningful opportunity to be heard, without requiring the creditor to present any evidence or sworn testimony, and without giving the debtors written notice of the judgment against them; displaying bias or prejudice throughout the proceedings in favor of the creditor and/or against the debtors’ efforts to defend the claim; notarizing power of attorney forms when the purported affiants (the debtors) did not appear before him, swear out an oath, or sign the forms in his presence; and using a notary stamp that gave the incorrect impression he is an attorney. In re Gremillion (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year without pay for (1) after a hearing in a criminal case before him, interrupting a private meeting between the family members of the victims and members of the District Attorney’s Office and making an inappropriate comment; (2) abusing his contempt authority and failing to follow the proper procedures for the punishment of contempt in 2 cases; and (3) making inappropriate comments in 7 criminal cases and exhibiting a lack of proper decorum, demeanor, and temperament. In re Free (Louisiana Supreme Court June 29, 2016).
  • Granting a joint motion for approval of a recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court reprimanded a former judge for endorsing a political candidate on social media; irregularities in her operation of the drug court program; deceptive responses in a newspaper interview; and routinely starting court late and exhibiting poor courtroom demeanor. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Clinkscales (Mississippi Supreme Court June 9, 2016).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1-month without pay for misusing his judicial office to access a confidential criminal history for personal reasons. In the Matter of Batelli, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court June 16, 2016).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge for speaking to the judge presiding over a tort action in which she was the plaintiff, over the other judge’s repeated objections, and subsequently faxing and mailing the other judge a letter with details about her claim. In the Matter of Dixon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 26, 2016).

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